Sally Phillips & Lily Bevan: Talking To Strangers



Assembly, George Square, Edinburgh

Sally Phillips and Lily Bevan are here for one week only and their impeccably delineated character sketch show is sold out tonight, so it might be a tough one to get tickets for.

Before the show starts, we’re informed that Phillips has broken her foot (by jumping on – or off – a table…?) but that she’ll be performing anyway, just “I might be a bit still!” Testament to her professionalism is the fact that it doesn’t impede the show in any way. Yeah, she’s got a bandage on her foot and she limps uncomfortably on and off stage during each scene change, but, once in position and in character, it makes no difference.

This is a sort-of-sketch-show, a series of monologues, where the two actors alternate different roles. And it’s really rather good.

Standouts include a miserable research scientist who’s spent forty years studying ‘numerosity in lions’ (only to be overwhelmed by the sudden realisation of the pointlessness of her life’s work), a terrified tour guide pressured into performing the role of Catherine of Aragon (whose brave attempts to render a Spanish accent provide the biggest laughs of the night), and an extended – and slightly bonkers – routine about Bette Midler and her phone calls to a cancer support group.

These women are seasoned comedians and their performances are precise and polished. If it’s a little safe, then that’s okay – not everything has to be edgy and provocative. I would have liked to have seen them perform at least one duologue, but overall this was a marvellous show.

4.5 stars

Susan Singfield


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